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Star Citizen community director says game would not be possible without crowdfunding

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Star Citizen director of community engagement and content strategy Ben Lesnick fielded questions about the ongoing development of the crowdfunded game during a Twitch stream today. He was there to discuss the game in detail with fans, but also to address criticism of the project's progress and the controversial issue of refunds.

They were some of Lesnick's first public comments since earlier this week, when he went to the Roberts Space Industries message boards to pour cold water on an ongoing discussion about potential refunds.

German Twitch channel CRASH_academy's hosts eventually asked about the elephant in the room; veteran developer Derek Smart, who has recently called for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the Star Citizen project and Chris Roberts' various companies. Skip ahead to the 1 hour, 10 minute mark below.

"Everybody is welcome to their opinion," Lesnick said. "It’s not just Derek Smart. Ever since the beginning of this people have said it's too big, they can't do it, this is impossible. We aim to prove them wrong.

"The whole point of Star Citizen, the whole point of backers in the first place, is because of [challenges in] getting money from a publisher. It was because the game is so big and such a challenge. Everything we do is oriented towards meeting that challenge.

"I keep going back to the John F. Kennedy moon quote, that we're going to go to the moon... not because this is easy, but because it is hard. That's Star Citizen. We're not as important as the moon shot, but we're here to meet that challenge. We're here to do something incredible. We reached out to the community because they are the ones that would understand what a publisher wouldn't. And I think that stands today. You're going to see incredible progress in the next few weeks. It's going to be good. But none of that criticism worries me because it's not correct."

Earlier in the conversation, Lesnick said that the anticipated update of the Public Test Universe, the experimental branch of the accumulated Star Citizen modules, would likely slip to next week.

Late last month, Star Citizen designer Chris Roberts went to the game's community forums to announce that the game's FPS module, called Star Marine, would be delayed further and that pieces of Star Marine would need to be stripped from the code elsewhere before new releases of other modules could be pushed out to backers.

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